WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) released the following statement regarding his support of the two-year budget agreement that passed the House and was signed into law on February 9, 2018. The budget agreement passed the House by a vote of 240 to 186. It passed the Senate earlier in the morning by a vote of 71 to 28.

“This budget agreement is a major bipartisan step in ensuring our military, federal agencies, communities, retirees, businesses, and workers are provided the certainty and resources they need.

“This legislation includes $90 billion in disaster assistance for communities impacted by storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding. It provides an additional $160 billion over two years to modernize our armed services and recover from the maintenance and training shortfalls that have been caused by years of sequestration.

“Our non-defense agencies are provided approximately $128 billion in additional resources as well. These additional resources will support our veterans’ health programs and provide much needed investment in agriculture, student aid, job training, economic development, and housing assistance. These non-defense programs directly support our nation’s economic and social vibrancy. They support the health, education, and nutrition of our citizens, and our service members.

“Specifically, the legislation:

  • Extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years, four more than the extension recently enacted,
  • Closes the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ in 2019, which will lower costs for seniors by reducing the coverage gap for prescription drugs,
  • Provides $20 billion for infrastructure over two years, including for roads and drinking water,
  • Provides $6 billion to combat opioid abuse and improve mental health, $2 billion for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and $4 billion for college affordability,
  • Includes a two-year extension of expired Community Health Centers funding, and
    Suspends the federal debt ceiling until March 2019.

“The agreement also includes provisions of importance for the agriculture community. I am especially pleased the bill includes my provisions that finally identify cotton seed as a named commodity. This important designation means cotton seed can now be eligible for Title I Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs. This has been a major priority for the cotton industry for several years now, and this designation will go a long way in assisting with agricultural recovery efforts.

“I applaud both chambers of Congress for coming together on this bipartisan agreement, and look forward to its implementation through the regular appropriations process in the upcoming years.”

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